Al-Rubai, 40, a design editor for Iraq’s state-run daily Al-Sabah, was shot by several gunmen while traveling to work in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood known as Camp Sara. The driver of the car was seriously wounded, media sources told CPJ.
Al-Sabah reported two weeks earlier that it had received an e-mailed death threat against al-Rubai and his family, which was signed by the military wing of the Mujahedeen Council, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq. According to the e-mail, the group was angered by the editor’s accusation that they were behind a car bomb attack on Al-Sabah on August 27, which killed a guard and an unidentified man.
“We have our reservations about this newspaper despite the fact that there are Iraqis working in it, but we condemn those false accusations against our resisting army, which issued just a few days ago a statement that forbids the killing of Muslims, especially Iraqis of any background or beliefs. But these allegations and accusations will not go unpunished, and we hold … al-Rubai responsible for what will happen to him and his family since with the help of God we obtained their names and addresses. We will set an example out of him to those who think of destroying the unity of the Iraqi nation that is fighting the occupation,” the e-mail published by Al-Sabah read.
Insurgents frequently targeted Al-Sabah and other state-run media because of their ties to the U.S.-supported Iraqi government. About two dozen employees of the state-run Iraq Media Network, which includes Al-Sabah, had been killed in the war, most by insurgents.